8 Tips on how to Identify Fur Coats When Vintage Shopping

Pologeorgis Furs

Posted on October 26 2023

8 Tips on how to Identify Fur Coats When Vintage Shopping

When shopping for vintage coats, it can be a thrill to stumble upon a piece that includes real fur. However, identifying the authenticity and quality of the fur can be a challenge. So, in this guide, we will walk you through the steps to help you determine whether the fur in a coat is real or not.

By paying attention to certain signs, examining the fur closely, and utilizing other key information, you can develop a keen eye for distinguishing real fur from faux alternatives. Before delving into the specific details, it's important to understand the general signs that indicate real fur, so let’s get into it!

The 8 Signs of Real Fur

There are multiple signs that can help you determine the difference between real and faux fur. Let’s take a look at the main characteristics of real fur to help you identify the authentic thing.

  1. Texture: Unlike synthetic materials, real fur has a unique texture that has a luxurious feel and radiates a natural glow when held up to the light.
  2. Flexibility and Warmth: Real fur tends to be warmer and more flexible than faux fur, so try it on to notice the difference.
  3. Ends of the Fur: Real fur typically tapers towards the end, whereas synthetic fur tends to have blunt or even pointed ends.
  4. Back of the Fur: Faux fur tends to have a fabric backing that is made from synthetic fibers, which makes it feel rougher and less pliable compared to the natural skin of real fur.
  5. Density: Real fur tends to be dense, with a large number of fur strands packed closely together, which can be observed by brushing back the hair of the fur.
  6. Color: Real fur often exhibits natural variations in color, with subtle shading and patterns that result from the animal's natural pigmentation.
  7. Movement: The way the fur moves and drapes should be fluid, with each strand of fur responding independently to changes in the direction of airflow.
  8. Craftsmanship: Faux fur garments may exhibit less refined craftsmanship, with noticeable imperfections in the stitching or overall construction.

By paying attention to these finer details and understanding the characteristics of real fur, you can become more adept at spotting the signs of authenticity. With a basic understanding of the signs of real fur,  let’s delve into  different types of furs on the market to further understand how to identify them.

The 5 Types of Fur

The world of fur encompasses a wide array of animal species and fur types, and each type has distinct characteristics and qualities that contribute to its value and appearance. So let’s take a deeper dive into the most common types of fur and their differences.

Fur Type



It is known for its warmth and durability, given that they have a thick undercoat and long, glossy guard hairs that give their fur a luxurious sheen.


It offers a range of colors and densities, and is used for trimming collars, cuffs, and hoods, adding a touch of glamor to any garment.


It is renowned for its exceptional softness and lightweight texture giving it a velvety feel and luxurious appearance.


It is incredibly soft, with a unique combination of dark brown and golden tones, and is considered one of the most valuable and prestigious furs in the world.


It provides warmth and comfort and is often used for lining coats and jackets, adding an extra layer of insulation and coziness.

Becoming familiar with these different fur types will enable you to make informed decisions during your vintage shopping endeavors. Now that we have understood the signs of real fur and the types available on the market, let’s look at how to examine your fur.

How to Examine Your Fur for Authenticity

When assessing the fur of a vintage coat, there are several factors that can help determine its quality and authenticity. Let’s take a deep dive on how to determine if you have an authentic, high-quality fur coat on your hands:

  1. Inspect the overall condition of the fur. Look for signs of wear, shedding, or synthetic fibers poking out.
  2. Take a look at the color and consistency of the fur, given that real fur often displays variations in color tones, while faux fur tends to have a more consistent shade.
  3. Examine the base of the fur and look for small knots, sewn stitches, or visible leather strips, which are characteristic of real fur.
  4. Inspect the label on the garment. Genuine furs come with labels that indicate the type of fur used, such as mink, fox, or chinchilla.
  5. Research the coat's brand or designer, which could further clarify its origin and fur production practices.
  6. Examine the lining of the coat and look for luxurious linings made from high-quality materials such as silk or satin.
  7. Seek the expertise of a fur appraiser or furrier to assist in determining the quality and authenticity of a vintage fur coat.
  8. Understand the different fur types to assess the quality of a vintage coat.
  9. Investigate the specific country of origin to gain insight into fur type and quality, given that different countries have different fur production practices.

By paying attention to these details, you can make an informed decision and appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of a genuine fur coat. Now, let’s take a deeper dive into how to determine if your vintage coat is mink or sable.

How to Know if it's Vintage Mink or Sable

Identifying whether a vintage coat contains mink or sable fur can be thrilling, as these fur types are considered some of the most valuable and luxurious. There are a few key indicators to look out for when hunting for vintage mink or sable.



It has a silky texture and a shorter nap.

It is known for its softness and longer hairs.

It exhibits lighter, more airy colors. 

It exhibits a rich and dark hue.

Furthermore, the label is your ally in identifying vintage mink or sable fur. Coats labeled as mink or sable are more likely to contain genuine fur. You can also ask for certificates of authenticity for valuable furs, further validating their quality and origin.

The Issues that Can Be Fixed vs. The Issues That Can’t

When assessing vintage fur coats, it's important to differentiate between issues that can be fixed or cleaned and those that cannot be repaired. So let’s take a look at what can be fixed and what can't, so you don’t throw your investment in the garbage.

Fixable Issues

Non- Fixable Issues

For small tears, a skilled furrier can carefully mend it, ensuring that it is virtually invisible.

Bald spots that occur when the fur has worn away completely.

Loose stitches can be easily tightened or re-stitched, preventing further damage and ensuring the longevity of the coat. 

If a tear is too large or in a critical area, it may be impossible to repair without compromising the coat's structure.

For slight discolorations, professional cleaning can work wonders.

Matting, which occurs when the fur becomes tangled and clumped together is very difficult, or impossible, to repair. 

For slight odors, take it to a professional cleaner to revitalize it. 

Burns are impossible to repair, as excessive heat damages the integrity of the fur.

It's crucial to evaluate the overall condition of the fur to determine whether its current state is acceptable or requires extensive restoration. Consulting with a professional furrier or fur restoration specialist can provide valuable insights and guidance in making this assessment.

Enjoy Your Vintage Coats 

Identifying real fur in vintage coats is a skill that can be honed with practice and knowledge. And after this, you will be able to pick out the real thing like an expert.

By paying attention to the signs of real fur, examining the fur closely for quality and authenticity, understanding different fur types, and being aware of repairable issues, you can become an expert in identifying genuine fur. Now that you’re armed with this newfound knowledge, venture forth and uncover those hidden treasures!

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